The Unconscious and the Conscious Absorbent Mind العقل الماص اللا إرادي و الإرادي

 

By Amira Nagati 

ماريا مونتسوري لاحظت إن الطفل من 0-6 سنين معندوش الأدوات اللي تسمحله يتعلم بطريقة الكبار. كان لا بد من وجود طريقة أو تقنية مختلفة و فريدة عشان يقدر يتطور بالشكل السريع و المكثف اللي بنشوفه. من رضيع ما بيتكلمش و حركاته محدودة تكاد تقتصر على اللا ارادية و معتمد كلياً على الراعي، لإنه يكون بيتكلم اللغة باتقان فطري بكل تفاصيلها اللي بتاخد منا سنين (و برضه مش بنتقنها أوي!)، و حركات متوازنة و متناسقة و تقريباً مستقل تماماً، و كل ده في أقل من ست سنين؟ مونتسوري سمت العقل المذهل ده “العقل الماص”، الطفل بيمتص البيئة من حواليه بكل حواسه بكثافة، و اللي بيمتصه بيشكله من جوه كإنه بيخلق نفسه، بيخلق الراجل اللي هيكونه. العملية دي بتم بشكل فطري مش معتمد على الإرادة، لإنها أساسية و محورية، زي النفس و الأكل و الشرب، ما ينفعش تخضع للإرادة البشرية اللي ممكن تسهو أو تقصر، أو تمتص ده و تدلع على ده، كمان الكمية و السرعة رهيبة ما تقدرش الإرادة تحتويها. لأ الموضوع مش معقد و لا فلسفي، كل الحكاية اللي قالتها لنا ماريا مونتسوري، إن الطفل من الناحية الجسدية بينمو في الرحم، لكن ازاي الناحية العقلية و النفسية تنمو من غير ما يبقى موجود في البيئة نفسها؟ عشان كده الطفل في سنينه الأولي هو جنين نفسي/عقلي، زي ما سمته مونتسوري.

 
مرحلة العقل الماص بتتقسم لمرحلتين، المرحلة الأولى هي العقل الماص غير الواعي، من 0-3 سنين حوالي، و فيها بيكتسب الطفل بشكل غير واعي و لا إرادي مهاراته الأساسية عشان يستقل من راعيه (في الغالب بتبقى الأم). بيمتص اللغة و بيتعلم المشي و الحركات الأساسية و بيتحكم في حركة أمعائه و بيخزن كل حاجة من حواليه و بيحاول يعمل أنماط و روتين و صور مألوفة للفوضي الكبيرة اللي هي العالم! (خلينا فاكرين إنه بقاله كام شهر بس في الدنيا، ده إحنا لما بنام كتير شوية بنصحى متلخبطين و مش مستحملين دوشة ولا أنوار).

 بنيجي بعد كده المرحلة التانية: العقل الماص الواعي، بيسعى فيها لإستقلالية أشمل، اسمها “الحرية”، و بيبتدي الطفل يصقل المهارات اللي اكتسبها و العالم اللي أخده جواه و بياخدها لمستوى أعلى من الكمال و الإتقان، عقله فيها بيكون دقيق و رياضي و عنده إرادة بلد بحالها و بيفضل يتمرن و يجرب و يتعلم من غير ما يمل. و الإرادة دي بتخدم الفترات الحساسة  اللي في كل فترة فيها بيبقى الطفل مستعد يستوعب قدرة أو مهارة معينة بشكل سهل و مكثف إذا أتيحت له الحرية إنه يمارسها بتكرار لحد ما يرضي الدافع الفطري ده. و كمان بيبتدي يفهم معنى “الآخر” و بيفهم نفسه كإنسان مستقل و مميز بيتأثر بالناس و يأثر فيهم.

بس لازم نعرف إنه من المهم إننا نسيب الطريق للدوافع الطبيعية دي و منلخبطش نظام الطبيعة بس عشان نظرتنا الضيقة عيزاه يعمل زينا و زي ما احنا شايفين، و بدل ما نفرض عليه نفسنا لازم نديله الأدوات للي تقدر تساعده في مهمته اللي هي فعلاً مهمة ملحمية، خلق الحياة و تكوين الذات.

 

أميرة

Advertisements

The greatest sign of success for a teacher… is to be able to say, “The children are now working as if I did not exist.”
~Maria Montessori
أكبر دليل على نجاح المُدرِّسة هو إنها تقدر تقول “الأطفال بيشتغلوا دلوقتي كإني مش موجودة.”
~ماريا مونتسوري

A Montessori Moment in Egypt’s History

 By Inas Hassan

The day after the announcement that Mubarak was no longer President of Egypt, there was an unprecedented sense of freedom among a large number of Egypt’s citizens. People felt that an oppressive load was lifted from their collective shoulders and were now free to take action. What sort of action were they to take in this newfound freedom? Forming militant groups to revenge against the old order? Forming political groups to assert their rights? Slandering the old regime? Pillaging and creating havoc?

No; none of the above. What most regular Egyptians did on the 12 of February; young and old, men and women, mothers and children; was to go down and clean the streets. That’s right picking up rubbish, sweeping the streets, painting the edges of the side walks, fences and light poles and planting trees.

Although school was delayed for a few weeks I was actually delighted with the learning opportunities offered my children through the street cleaning campaigns. You may think I’m crazy, preferring that my children sweep the streets than go to school! Well YES, it’s true. It is because I realised that what they were taking part in was:

A true Montessori moment.

Maria Montessori found that, contrary to popular belief, when children are given true freedom of action their natural inclination is to act responsibly. The Egyptian revolution showed us that the perceived freedom Egyptians felt led them to a deeper relationship with their environment and a feeling of responsibility for it. Montessori is all about education through interaction with the environment and what better education is there that instils young Egyptians with the sense that “YES, WE CAN DO IT”.  They learned that together: we can clean the streets, we can eliminate corruption, and we can build a better and brighter future for Egypt.

That is the beauty of both this revolution and the Montessori Method of education. For both did not create something new but rather provided the atmosphere for the growth of natural inborn tendencies within each human being to want to contribute in a positive way to society.

The children in Montessori’s schools proved that their real need is to be absorbed in work and have freedom to choose their occupation. What was amazing was that ‘discipline’ spontaneously appeared as a result of this freedom.  This was evident in her experience with students in her school over 40 years and in widely varying parts of the world.

Montessori developed her method by observing the young children in her preschools. She found that they were not as much interested in playing with traditional toys as they were in trying to use real utensils and equipment used by adults. She observed that children from lower socio economic backgrounds have a developmental advantage over their richer peers in that they naturally and actively take part in real life with their parents rather than being relegated to another room to play with artificial toys. So you could imagine the joy of my three year old Mostafa when we told him he was going to clean the streets with us. He took to the task seriously and enthusiastically on a number of occasions, as you can see by this photo.

Such freedom to become absorbed in meaningful work creates a state of satisfaction seldom seen at school. I was so happy when my fifteen year old Amira came home from a day of street sweeping and traffic island painting and told me she just had one of the best days of her life. Also, it was priceless to see the look of pride at a job well done when my nephew Yasser had just finished meticulously painting parking spaces and no standing traffic indicators on the street in front of our building.

Although Montessori found that children in her schools were happy, this was not the whole aim of education but rather for the child to develop himself into the man he is to be, to be “independent in his powers and character, able to work and assert his mastery over all that depends on him” (The Absorbent Mind, p.170). I believe this is the kind of education which was taking place on the streets of Egypt.

Now that the children are back at school with their day broken up into arbitrary periods with ‘lessons’ keeping them occupied and exams to study for, this spontaneous interaction with the environment has abated.  What Montessori observed 100 years ago still applies today: “the schools we have today cannot help the creative instincts of the children who feel in themselves a true delight in activity, a real joy in hard work, in finding the beauty of work, in comforting the unhappy and helping the weak.” (p.241)

I can’t wait til the holidays when I hope our children will have the time and motivation to resume cleaning and rebuilding our country.

Inas Hassan

Related:   http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/mar/13/big-society-egyptian-cairo

Montessorilly Yours : )

 

 My name is Marie Therese , 11 years ago I decided to understand more about children, after I had my two boys.

  I’m grateful to my Mom and to Marguerite who is my master, my sister, my mother and my friend… Marguerite, who helped me see the child with my Heart, my Mind and my Eyes.

  Being among children provides me with positive energy, that they will soon want back.
  Learning abut the powers of children, made me understand more out the powers of God.

 Montessorilly Yours 🙂
 Marie Therese Bishay.

Montessori Class in Zabaleen Area فصل المونتسوري في منطقة الزبالين/ منشية ناصر

منظمة عالم واحد الخيرية بتهدف لنشر المونتسوري في الدول النامية. كان من مشاريعها فصل المونتسوري في منطقة الزبالين منشية ناصر. الأهالي هناك بيفرزوا الزبالة اللي بيجمعوها من حوالين القاهرة و بيحطوها حتى في بيوتهم، و المخلفات العضوية كانت بتاكلها الخنازير اللي عايشة هناك برضو، ده طبعاً قبل المأساة اللي حصلت أيام انفلونزا الخنازير. معظم العائلات هناك قبطية. الأطفال مقدر لهم من سنين عمرهم الأولى إنهم يشتغلوا في التجميع و الفرز، و إنهم يعيشوا في ظروف أبعد ما تكون عن الصحة و الإنسانية. دول الأطفال جوه فصل المونتسوري.

 

  “The area of Zabaleen (Manshiat Nasser) is one of several quarters where the garbage collectors of Cairo live and work. In this crowded district people’s homes double as garbage sorting depots where almost everything ends up being reused or recycled in some way. Rubbish is generally collected from all around Cairo by the men and boys of the family, who start working as young as 6 or 7 years old. When it gets back to the neighborhood it is the work of the women, the girls and the younger children to do the sorting. It is quite obvious to say that this is dangerous work in terms of hygiene as well as cuts, needles and infections. Until recently, when all of Egypt’s pigs were slaughtered for fear of spreading swine flu, all of the organic waste was eaten by pigs kept in the area (most families here are Coptic Christians).”

“The project has chosen to target the youngest age group for several reasons; to set a solid foundation for physical development (motor skills, muscle development and coordination); to set a solid foundation for mental and social development (boosting self esteem, self awareness, achievement and giving the children a sense of order); most importantly taking the children away from an environment filled with garbage and providing them with a clean and stimulating environment in which to grow.”

Copied from the website: http://www.oneworldmon.com/www.oneworldmon.com/Projects.html

 

The Absorbent Mind- Review

(By: Maria Montessori. Tranlsated from Italian by: Claude A. Claremont. Clio Press- Oxford, England 1988)

 

 

By Amira Nagati

Note: all quotes are from the book.

In her introduction to the first edition of this book, Dr Montessori pointed the importance of education to “transcend the narrow limits of teaching and of the direct transmission of knowledge or ideals from one mind to another.”

The point is not to teach the child, he is unteachable, for the presence of a meticulous teacher within him; the point is, instead,  to give way to this teacher. The sensitivity and absorbent nature of the child makes it clear that we need to have a scientific approach to his education, or else we risk to do irrevocable damages.

It is not us who fill the child’s mind as if he is “an empty vessel”, “it is the child who makes the man.” In a culture that hails competency and superiority, it needs a flexible mind to handle the ideas of the Montessori education as seeking  “Normality” in our children.

The first step is to learn the periods of growth scientisits agree upon, each main stage is usually subdivided into two stages (subphases). From birth to six (0-3, 3-6). From six to twelve, which is a rather stable stage, usually compared to adulthood. From twelve to eighteen (12-15, 15-18), which is compared to the first stage due to the huge psychological/mental transformation (or psychic transformation, using the term Montessori used) Yet, in our schools, we treat all those various stages in the same way, sit-and-listen. “Listening does not make a man.”

“To develop a language from nothing needs a different kind of mentality.. The child absorbs knowledge directly into his psychic life… The child undergoes a transformation. Impressions do not merely enter his mind; they form it.”

So, our adult ways don’t really fit this kind of mentality. It is absurd to teach the child in our way, from our presepctive and learning patterns, instead of his.

The child enjoys the process of development and acquiring of knowledge, he has no ends, no ambitions. He is happy to work, he works to be happy. His hands are his instruments, by using them, by moving about, he absorbs the world.

“There is no competition in childhood, because no-one can do for the child the work he has to do to build the man he is making. No-one, in short, can do his growing for him.”

Dr Montessori shows us in her book, how that the mental development of man, starting from his birth, is a rendition of his physical development in the womb. She presents to us the idea of the two embryos stage, physical (before birth) and psychic (after birth, from Psyche, i.e. The mind functioning as the center of thought, emotion, and behavior and consciously or unconsciously adjusting or mediating the body’s responses to the social and physical environment.)* A kind of post-natal formative period, that shapes the rest of this child’s life.

The child’s pattern of work depends on urges. He has an urge to do a particular thing, he is not aware of why he wants to,  he has no ends but the work itself. This urge, is the force of Life, that we should revere, never to obstruct or restrict.

Why is a human baby extremely unpriviliged from a physical point of view after his birth, compared to other animals? Why it takes that much time for him to develop into a complete, fully functioning, coordinated body? It is because his physical development works hand in hand with his mental and psychological development. The child has to coordinate his movements by experience, practice, and correction of error, and this goes hand in hand with his mental development. A child cannot be educated by making him sit still in a chair, not moving, not talking, not feeling anything. He needs his hands and body to absorb knowledge. “The child uses his movements to extend his understanding.”

By observing the child, we are able to know that work is the natural instinct of man, and his well-being and happiness is dependant on whether he is able to work constructively in accordance with his tendencies. But instead, we constantly try to take away work from the child. This kind of oppression really does cause regression in children, that needs to be normalized as soon as possible.

Also one very important thing about children’s pattern of learning, is that the child’s progress is not gradual, but marked by its “explosive phenomenum“. “The quantity of inner work may be immense, yet the outer signs of it are small.” Parents always worry about  why their children are not developing, why they are not writing or reading yet, or know their numbers, while if they only wait and be patient, they will witness the result. 

Another thing is, parents usually delight in a child who is hyperactively jumping from one work to another, finishing each quickly to go to the next.  The formation of the child, instead, is largely dependant on the process of concentration on a piece of work, and repetition. “Unless [attention] does fixate, formation cannot begin.”

Control of Error: ‘There is one thing a teacher must never do, and that is, to interfere by praising a child’s work, or punishing him if it is wrong, or even by correcting his mistakes.” This idea, known in the Montessori Method by control of error, of making the child his own judge, is a distinctive basic that needs open-mindness to grab it at first. A normalized child does not care for prizes, and punishment is incomprehensible for him and does not improve him, “only exercise and experience can correct a disability.” “It is well to cultivate a friendly feeling towards error, to treat it as a companion inseparable from our lives, as something having a purpose, which it truly has.”

Then comes the problem of obedience. We have to know an essential thing, obedience to other people’s will will NOT come unless the child first obeys his inner calling. During the first years of his life, the child is guided by vital urges, we cannot ask him to restrict these urges, or we will create a deformed human being. Later, after a child creates his independence, his freedom, his will, then he can decide to obey others.

Normalization of a child takes a lot of observation, patience and perseverance from the teacher and parents. It also needs us to be sensitive to the child’s needs and changes, and very careful once the child establishes the concentration that is the start of normalization.

I recommend reading the book for much more about the child : )

Amira Nagati

الترجمة للعربي هتيجي قريب

*thefreedictionary. com

Montessori Videos

Since there isn’t that many Montessori videos in Arabic or videos about Montessori in Egypt, we decided that we will make our own videos and upload them online, we will record with specialists, parents and school/organization directors. We will also try to record some of the activities in a Montessori class.

Wait for our youtube channel soon. : )

بما ان مفيش فيديو بالعربي كتير عن نهج المونتسوري و عن المونتسوري في مصر، قررنا نعمل احنا مقابلات و تسجيلات و ننزلها أونلاين. هيبقى فيها مختصين و أهالي و أصحاب مدارس و جمعيات، و كمان هنحاول نسجل شوية من النشاطات

استنوا قناة اليوتيوب بتاعتنا قريب، من مصر لمصر 

: )

Previous Older Entries